3-16. FEBRILE CONVULSIONS
During the first two years of a child's life, convulsions are far more common than
at any other time in his lifetime. Fever-caused convulsions may occur in a child up to
six years of age. What happens is that in a child, the brainstem (the body's temperature
regulator) does not mature until the child is about four years of age. A child's
temperature may rise too quickly when he has a disease, causing convulsions. Usually,
a child who has febrile convulsions suffers no ill effects as long as the convulsions are
occasional, brief, and limited to his early childhood.
a. Signs/Symptoms of Febrile Convulsions. The child will have a high fever
of 102 F to 106o F (38.9o C to 41.1o C). Some children will convulse at lower
temperatures because their seizure threshold is low. Such children may have a
convulsion with a temperature of 100o F to 102o F.
b. Treatment for Febrile Convulsions.
Take the child's temperature and record it.
Wash your hands and assemble the following equipment:
(a) Basin containing tepid (lukewarm) water.
(b) Bath towel (two for an older child).
(3) Undress the child and place the bath towel under the child (to absorb
moisture and prevent chilling).
Cover an older child with a second bath towel.
(5) Expose the child's arms and chest. Put the washcloth in the tepid water;
then, squeeze excess water from the washcloth. Sponge the child gently with the
washcloth, making long, even strokes. Repeat this process two or three times, giving
attention to the child's armpit area.
Sponge the child's abdomen, legs, and feet in the same manner.
Turn the child on his abdomen and sponge his back.
(8) Sponge the inner surface of the child's groin and the perineal region.
(Sponge the anal region last.)
DO NOT continue this process longer than 15 to 20 minutes.